[caption id="attachment_1676" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Image source: Blog.edenprojects.org[/caption]
Does size really matter or do good things come in small packages? That's a question that you may have to consider as you shop for customized clothing. Picking the right article of clothing is hard enough as it is, but once your'e done with that you're still only halfway finished. The next question relates to the logo: just how big should your logo be, anyway?
Unfortunately, there's no single answer that applies to every situation. You need to evaluate each custom clothing option on a case-by-case basis, but there are a few general guidelines that can help you make the right decision.
Subtle or Advertorial?
The purpose of a customized article of clothing has a huge impact on how big the logo should be. Generally speaking, large logos are better for when you're trying to advertise your brand to a massive audience, while small logos are better for simply reminding customers that you're providing them a great service.
[caption id="attachment_1632" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Image source: Farm7.staticflickr.com[/caption]
What do I mean by this? Imagine a restaurant that is trying to bring in new customers. They have a team of advertisers giving out free hot wings at festivals and other large events. In this case, you want to be as eye-catching as possible. An enormous screen printed logo that completely covers an article of clothing will ensure that potential customers spot your brand. Once customers actually come to the restaurant, however, it's probably not a good idea to bombard patrons with advertisements while they enjoy their meal. It would probably be better to give servers tasteful articles of clothing with small embroidered logos on the chest. These logos will help customers associate the logo with the positive dining experience without being too distracting.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule -- Joe's Crab Shack comes to mind. That restaurant tries to promote a fun, laid-back atmosphere, so the waitstaff typically wears t-shirts with bright screen printed images on the back. The eye-catching images fit in with the restaurant's surfer-themed decor.
Can You Read the Logo?
It's important to keep in mind that there are minimum size requirements for custom clothing. The smaller a logo is, the more difficult it will be to read. It's not that small text is hard on the eyes, it's that custom clothing doesn't have a very high resolution (to use computer terminology). You can have a very clear, crisp image on paper, but fabric isn't really built for tiny images. If you make the image small enough, then the image will lose its definition and become blurry. This is especially true for embroidery because it's impossible for a line to be thinner than a piece of thread.
[caption id="attachment_1633" align="alignnone" width="1536"] Image source: Blackwarriorriver.org[/caption]
Some companies, like Pepsi, won't really have to worry about this because their logo is an image that doesn't have any words. Other companies, like Coca-Cola, might need to use a slightly larger logo on their custom clothing to maintain a crisp image. If your logo uses words, you definitely don't want to create a logo so small that the text is illegible. This quiz proves just how hard it is to recognize a logo without the words.
We generally have certain expectations about the relationship between the size of a logo and its location. Logos that are on the front middle or back middle of a shirt are typically enormous. In contrast, we generally expect logos on the chest of a shirt to be small and tasteful. Keep these expectations in mind as you design your shirt. There's nothing saying that you can't have a huge logo on the front of a shirt or a tiny logo on the back of a t-shirt, but that type of clothing will definitely break convention. It could be a good marketing move if you want your company to appear innovative or unorthodox.
If you're a new company and plan to utilize custom clothing, you may want to keep these factors in mind as you design your logo. It's important that your logo fits in everywhere: on billboards, in commercials, on the Internet, and (of course) on clothing.